Unfolding Odyssey


I meant for my next post to be about the third leg of our road trip. I’d planned on writing about the quiet farm roads in the Free State, creaking windmills and wheat-colored grass turning molten gold at sunset. About the heartache and orange dust that is Bloemfontein: Town of Neglected Dreams.

I was going to end with something that spoke to our final nights on the road. Lego, bug cream and braai smells. Willow trees and horses across the river reflected in the water. The nose-searing fumes of pig-shit compost from the surrounding farms.

That last morning cuddle we all shared on that stupid-shaped bed. The only sounds were the sucking of lips around rubber bottle nipples, and those birds…

Thing is, after a week at my parents’ house in Johannesburg, the road has passed over the horizon. I’m too close to next week’s big departure to retroactivate anything.

It’s funny how we doggedly hold on to familiar habits and routines, even on the edge of a life-changing precipice. Think of the musicians playing as The Titanic pitched and groaned. My dying Tuppa checking with Nana that the builders had finished fixing the door, minutes before slipping away. Yes, Chum, it’s good as new.

Not that immigration is like death, but there’s a severing. A leap into the unknown.

Anyway. In Cape Town we’d do Pizza Fridays. Louw would knead the dough the day before, and we’d make the bases fresh. One at a time on the Weber, or in the oven. Eat as we go. Too full to finish them all. At least two left over for breakfast and/or lunch. We’re not saints.

On that note, we’d planned to do some light packing tonight, I mean we fly out in 6 days and we’re still not sure all our stuff will fit. Instead, drinks on the veranda lingered and loped into dinnertime, and here we are. We should be knee-deep in luggage but Louw’s making a Kilimanjaro from “00” flour and I feel inspired by the familiarity of it all.

My mom’s sieve is not like ours, and her mixing bowl’s smaller, but the primal smell of yeast takes us by the senses, back to a space we know. Where some things, at least, are still certain. He stirs in water like he always does, eroding the mountain into a crater of sticky possibility, and I’m soaked in the warmth of gin and well being.

It’s colder in Calgary, and day is night there, for now. But as sure as my uncertainty of what our future holds, I know that we’ll be making pizza next Friday. The sun will rise and so will our dough. Our countdown timer ticks away as we answer the questions. What will we do? How will the kids cope with the change? Are we prepared for the cold?

Our answers change every time, reflecting (or compounding) our head space.

Right now, all I’m sure of is that we’re getting on an airplane with our children next week. And saying goodbye to people we love. Beyond that we don’t know, and that’s OK. It has to be.

We’re up for the challenge – excited even. Who wouldn’t want a blank slate?

Anything could happen.

It’s going to be fine.

Wherever we go, yeast is yeast, at the very least.